Culture-led, arts-led regeneration



The process of urban regeneration are common features in every cities around the world: changing the industrial city into a large center, conversing industrial land and brownfield to another function or the mixture area, improving facilities, etc. That in order to improve the quality of life of urban residents and adapt to changes in many aspects of the world.

Through lectures by Stuart Cameron of regeneration in which it has raised a question about the power of culture and the arts can do to change the image of the municipality and it can orient the reconstruction.


Newcastle, the city where I am studying, is a good example of culture-led arts-led regeneration. The city had fallen into economic crisis and high unemployment in 70s when the industry of shipbuilding and mining were bankrupted and closed on a large scale. It was undergone dramatically change with buildings which are the consequence of the collaboration between art and architecture.


The Sage Gateshead is outstanding in cluster along Tyne river with the highest position in the area, modern materials and shapes as the waves overlooking the river. The Sage Gateshead is designed based on the participation by architect, acoustician, local authorities and local communities with the aim is creating a new place for wide range of music performances. Nowadays, The Sage became a place where music performances by local and international artists, a place to train professional and amateur artists at a same time.  According to some reports and studies demonstrate the building have significant impact on economic, education as well as culture. It is also one of the symbols of England to the world according to Gateshead Council (2006) : “The spotlight has never been more sharply focused on North East England. The cultural regeneration that is transforming our entire region is making the world more aware of our successes, our ambitions and our vibrancy.”


Photo: Wilka Hudson

The Millenium Bridge is another symbol of Newcastle, which imply as a giant eye when viewed from above. Shape is simple with two curves, which we can see in everywhere, even right in Tyne river. However, the background and the scene which are shaped by bridge, are impressive and artistic.Together with The Sage, it has attracted millions of tourists at home and abroad to visit.


Facing strong variations due to the arts and culture bring, buildings as The Baltic – a flour mill – have become a meeting place between contemporary art and culture. The regeneration have operated gradually in both sides of river : The shipyards, factories, warehouses converted into hotels, restaurants, apartments, bars, gallery that led to make Quayside becomes more lively and magnificent. Moreover, contemporary art sculptures or statues appear more in streets toward to the centre. Culture and art are parallel changing the identity of Newcastle.

One thought on “Culture-led, arts-led regeneration

  1. Hi, Quang Trung Vu!

    I am agree that Newcastle is a city with a beautiful Heritage but it is simultaneously a city of the future. I can see that in urban heart of the city there is a pride and a loving care of it heritage (Theatre Royal, Gray’s Monument, St Nicholas Cathedral and the Castle Keep on the site of the Rome forum…) This is mean that new developments are carefully built around it existing beauty. Down the river there are still some medieval warehouses and town wall.
    I think this is the fundamental aspect of its urban design. As the result, more people want to live and work in a city center. Newcastle is one of the fastest growing cities. The key of this success is that Newcastle focusing on people. Urban designers trying to improve the quality of live for all its citizens. I am sure, that city council, urban designers and citizens are working together on urban regeneration. It is planning for sustainability and greener city. Newcastle is a place which places its people in a central place of regeneration. There better live will create a better city for the future generation.
    Gateshead dated from early roman settlement to an early roman industrial town. Nowadays it is recognized by its icons. Such as Angel of the North, The Sage and Millennium Bridge). You can see remendous cahnges in facility, good transport links. The potential of the area is very big. City council of Gateshead is working with residents to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. Reduce crime, unemployment and social disadvantages. Newcastle and Gateshead will become more and more successful!

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